|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 3-5
Dental research: The missing block in the dental institutions
Director - Principal, Department of Prosthoodntics, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi, India
|Date of Web Publication||18-Mar-2015|
Director - Principal, Department of Prosthoodntics, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Verma M. Dental research: The missing block in the dental institutions. J Int Clin Dent Res Organ 2015;7:3-5
I begin with a quote by John Barth, (a famous American writer of the book. The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor) "you don›t reach Serendib by plotting a course for it. You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings ... serendipitously."  From here, I lead you to the etymology of the word serendipity coined by Horace Walpole. The word is based upon the anecdote of "The Three Princes of Serendip," the heroes of which "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of."  Bringing you back to the discoveries in science, I feel science and serendipity often go hand in hand. Discovery of Pennicillin, X-rays, Saccharine, the big bang, heating effect of microwave, the superconductors, and hard-to-miss dental implants are among many others proof enough for the former statement. Irrespective of what the discovery was, it is important to ponder (and wonder) that there was a discovery - a research with a result, which thrusted the humanity to edification.
"Research serves to make building stones out of stumbling blocks."  Arthur D Little's quote in itself displays the importance and relevance of research. And there is no two ways about this belief. However, it is extremely important to acknowledge the fact that "things turn out well only if you are an odd ball in a permissive environment" (Paul Hansen). This fact clearly emphasize the need for creating a permissive environment where research can actually be brought about. This hence calls for four elements - place, time, skilled workforce, and infrastructure to bring out discoveries in academe, and dental institutions are no exception. Creating "dedicated departments" of research (with all the four mentioned elements) in dental institutions is hence need of the hour.
Such a dedication to research will present endless frontier to the science of dentistry, thus enabling us to discover, integrate, and collaborate. Discover, in order to enable best science to solve problems in orodental and craniofacial health. Integrate or converge the research workforce toward ensuring that oral health is integral to overall health. And collaborate or partner with individuals and organizations within and outside dentistry, government and academia to improve nation's oro-dental and craniofacial health. However, to earn wings in the discipline, a permissive environment is de rigueur. And establishing "research departments" in dental institutions will assuredly provide such a permissive environment.
The dedicated department can lay down a broad array of research strategies to help understand the fundamental or the basics of a disease and involve a breadth of approaches to support the "best science" including biological mechanistic and interventional studies, behavioral and social sciences, public health research, population-health studies, clinical trials, and community-based studies.
Such departments would then act as a catalyst for transforming the methodology of oral healthcare delivery, carrying the onus of comprehensive integration of basic and clinical science with population science (translational research) in order to device new tools to improve oral healthcare. They can be considered as an epicenter where research from all sectors of dental community can be funded for research activities and bring about a smooth sail of their experimentations.
These departments or centres can bring about a variety of flexible and innovative research training and career development programs which are needed to recruit and retain experts with the appropriate skills to conduct oral health research in an increasingly complex environment. It is worthy of mention here that the establishing such a research department in an institution will enable encompassing of all career stages in research continuum and offer opportunities to researchers of all aeons - the established researchers, the postdoctoral researchers, the dental students, and the undergraduates (early stage researchers) in various disciplines. This can help improve the recruitment and retention of researchers and other underrepresented groups in research thus cultivating and sustaining future leaders in clinical and translational research.
The support of these centers to the well-trained and highly competent investigators with interdisciplinary skills (addressing multipronged issues in oral health) is expected to continue for years to come. Many of these disciplines are just emerging, yet it is critical that they be woven into ongoing and new research projects. Thus, establishing such departments can promise long-term research on variegated issues which today are in their germinal stages.
Through such departments one can expect clinical research partnerships with the practising community (population based and translational research) thus overcoming the codicillary " File Drawer syndrome" often seen with the current trending researches. The expanded network with translational research activities can produce data that can be better generalized highly diverse population of a country or a region.
The departments within institutes can very conveniently focus on and encourage bidirectional research, an iterative knowledge exchange between basic scientists and clinicians. Scientific insights into biological mechanisms and disease processes inform and spur new clinical interventions. Conversely, clinical observation about the nature and progression of disease stimulates new basic investigations. Such a bidirectional research is a hard won task in insulated research attempts, often making research a red herring and not applicable in many situations.
The dedicated departments are expected to pursue a balanced research portfolio that appropriately embraces the concept of research, with a focus on behavioral and social sciences or genetic/genomic research - two areas of science poised for rapid growth. Such an embracement can assure better preparedness to enter the modern scientific workforce that extends well beyond academic research.
Let me conclude by a quote from Paul Ehrlich: "Success in research needs four Gs- Glück (Luck), Geduld (patience), Geschick (skill) and Geld (money)."  There is a lot of effervescence in research in current times but this research effervescence needs coherence and undoubtedly this coherence can be brought about by a dedicated department catering to all generations of researchers, embracing multidisciplinary essence of dental, oral, and craniofacial health (on genomics as well as behavioral sciences), and eventually creating of new knowledge and technologies (that informs its evidence base) which can be strategically and efficiently utilized to yield individualized oral healthcare.
| References|| |
Little AD. Quoted in Massachusetts institute of technology. Technol Rev 1932;34:4.
Hansen P. W James, "McNerney Jr. A century of innovation: The 3M Story" 2002;26.
Ehrlich P, Perutz M. Rita and the Four Gs. Nature 1988;332:791.
| Authors|| |
About the Author
Prof. (Dr.) Mahesh Verma is Director - Principal of Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi which is declared a 'Centre of Excellence' and is the top notch Dental Institution of the Country engaged in dental education and specialised patient care.
He has been associated with Dental Education and patient care at Maulana Azad Medical College since 1985 and has worked on various academic positions. His dedication to the field of Dental Sciences resulted in setting up and establishment of one of the Best Dental Institute cum Hospital in India with affiliations worldwide known now as Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences. He is also President of Indian Dental Association (National) and is also associated with numerous other organisations involved with dental profession and education both at national level and abroad.
He has been Principal Investigator on the prestigious project "New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative" and was responsible for developing "Indigenous dental Implant technology". This innovation has since been developed and patented and shall make quality dental implants locally available to common masses of our country at an affordable cost.
His versatility, skills, devotion and diligence have been recognised in the past with the conferment of the " Padma Shri Award", " Dr. B.C. Roy national award", "State Award" by Delhi Government, " Vashisht Chikitsa Ratan Award" by Delhi Medical Association and " Health Care Personality of the Year 2012" by FICCI " Life Time Achievement Award" by Health Talk, " Excellence in Dentistry Award" by MedscapeIndia, " National Award for Healthcare" by Journalists Federation of India and numerous other awards including fellowships of Royal College of Surgeons of England, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, American College of Dentists and many more.